The Supreme Court Always Knocks Twice


SCOTUSblog reports that the no-knock warrants case, Hudson v. Michigan, has been scheduled for re-argument so that Sam Alito can participate in the decision. Sounds like it's probably going to be a close one, since it appears that they're having trouble deciding it with an even number of justices. Radley Balko wrote about the case for Slate earlier this month.

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  1. There’s a damn ad blocking half the story. Siad ad doesn’t have an option to close it. Ah well, I’m sure it was a good article.

  2. I’m not sure what you’re referring to… you can just keep scrolling past the ad in the middle of the story, if that’s the one you mean.

  3. Ok, I found a way to actually read the Balko article. If anyone is having the same issue, just hit the stop button the moment the text appears. That should prevent the ad from loading.

  4. Julian Sanchez-In all fairness, it may be a quirk of my brower. I run on Mac 9.2 at work, and use an old verison of Mozilla for the web. The ad was so large that it blocked a large chunk of text as well as the space alotted to it.

  5. Based on Alito’s record as a patsy for the police, I’m preparing myself for a horrible outcome to this one.

  6. Based on Alito’s record as a patsy for the police, I’m preparing myself for a horrible outcome to this one.

    Indeed. If they are in fact re-arguing because they’re deadlocked then why even bother – Alito is never going to rule against the police.

  7. Balko mischaracterizes the incident as a “no-knock” raid. In fact it was a botched “knock-and-announce” raid, with the “announce” but with no “knock.”

    And, say what you want about the drug laws, there was a perfectly valid warrant issued.

    The question here is therefore whether there is a constitutional right to have enough time to flush the drugs down the toilet. Or to reach for a gun to kill the cops.

    Given the far worse problem of the eroding warrant requirement itself, this is not really the ideal case for indignant libertarians to be hanging their hats on.

    A Right to “Flush It Down the Toilet”?

  8. Julian Sanchez-In all fairness, it may be a quirk of my brower.

    I sometimes run into the same problem (not in this case) with Mozilla Firefox on Windows. Some websites, particularly have ads the get incorrectly placed over the text. Sometimes reloading helps, but sometimes I have to go to IE. Not sure if there’s an update or fix for Firefox but it is a nuisance at times.

    Speaking of Mozilla quirks, I use the Mozilla Thunderbird email client but I just noticed that if you type Mozilla Thunderbird or Firefox in an email it flags them all as misspelled.

  9. I don’t know Kip, I’ll hang my hat on anything that makes it harder for them to wage the war on drugs.

  10. Kip,

    The raid was illegal. A Michigan court determined that officers did not comply with the state law requiring an announcement and a proper wait time. You can agree or disagree with what those procedures ought to be, but when a warrant calls for announcement in compliance with state law, and it’s later determined that police did not in fact comply with state law regarding announcement, the result is a “no-knock” raid. Whether or not police whispered “search warrant” just before coming inside is rather irrelevant to the people in the house. The difference between “knock and announce” and “no-knock” in most places in this country is nil. If there’s a SWAT team involved, it’s a near-certainty that the occupant won’t be given time to come to the door.

    The issue in Hudson is not whether a defendant should be given “enough time to flush” the evidence (that was addressed in Banks), but whether or not police who violate procedures established by law should then be able to use the evidence they collect against a defendant at trial. I’m saying that because civil verdicts and/or disciplinary actions against police for failing to follow warrant procedures are unheard of, the best worst remedy available is the exclusionary rule.

    Finally, whether or not this is a case for “libertarians to hang their hats on” is beside the point. Your entire approach to this issue isn’t really libertarian at all. The purpose of the Castle Doctrine is to give the residents of a home time to come to the door and let the police in before it’s blown, rammed, or kicked off its hinges. To call such time “time to flush,” or “time to load a weapon,” creates policy and police procedures under the presumption that most or all people named in a warrant are probably guilty.

    That’s not all that libertarian a way of looking at things.

    There are hundres of cases of botched raids in which police entered the wrong home. That’s hundreds of cases where innocents were needlessly terrorized, injured, or killed.

    I understand that police want to protect themselves from potentially dangerous suspects. But these raids are increasingly being waged against recreational pot smokers, white collar criminals, and other nonviolent suspects.

    And yes, policing is dangerous work. Cops should do what they can to minimize risk. But not at the expense of the people they’re supposed to be protecting.

  11. Bravo, Radley!

    You talk about cops wanting to minimise risk to themselves, but the very nature of their door-kicking procedure is going to ensure that someone is going to get shot from time to time…usually a non-cop, but if someone kicks my door in at 5am, they’re going to get shot at before I realise what the fuck is going on. ‘Course, at that point, it’s too late, and I’m dead, but what do they think is gonna happen?

    Cops don’t want to work hard for their busts. They get some low-life to rat on people, then go to whatever house the low-life tells them to and kick in the door. If they actually did detective work, they could nab the perp when he’s going to the store or even when he’s making a run to procure more shit. But that would take actual work, and also means the cops don’t get to play soldier.

    And can we all admit that being a cop would be a helluva lot less stressful and dangerous without the ridiculous drug war?

    NWA had it mostly right – fuck the po-lice!

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